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The Last Russia-Ukraine Border Crossing: Stories of Escape and Hope

Explore the poignant journey of those escaping Russian-occupied regions through the last open border crossing between Russia and Ukraine. Discover the challenges, resilience, and the makeshift "gateway to freedom" in Krasnopillya. Follow the unique stories of return through the Kolotilovka-Pokrovka corridor, a sanctioned path back to Ukraine. Join House Ukraine Foundation (Casa Ucrania) in supporting those rebuilding their lives. 🤝 #BorderCrossing #EscapeStories #HopeAfterConflict #CasaUcrania


Explore the poignant journey of those escaping Russian-occupied regions through the last open border crossing between Russia and Ukraine. Discover the challenges, resilience, and the makeshift "gateway to freedom" in Krasnopillya. Follow the unique stories of return through the Kolotilovka-Pokrovka corridor, a sanctioned path back to Ukraine. Join Casa Ucrania Foundation in supporting those rebuilding their lives. 🤝 #BorderCrossing #EscapeStories #HopeAfterConflict #CasaUcrania
The Last Russia-Ukraine Border Crossing: Stories of Escape and Hope. Image Map Source: Institute for the Study of War, AEI's Critical Threats Project.

In the heart of northeast Ukraine, Krasnopillya stands as the last frontier between Russian-occupied territories and Ukrainian soil. The unassuming gravel path that marks the border has become more than just a line; it's a gateway to freedom for hundreds fleeing the oppressive grasp of Russian forces. As they endure checkpoints and face abuse, each step on this mile-long track signifies a step toward a safer future.


This border crossing, once a witness to the Kremlin's invasion with tanks and troop carriers, now tells tales of resilience in a town scarred by the echoes of war. The quaint courtyard of a former elementary school in Krasnopillya has transformed into a vital filtration center, serving as a beacon of hope for those returning to Kyiv-controlled Ukraine.


Driving six hours east from Kyiv...


In a media landscape dominated by controlled narratives, getting real insights into life in Russian-occupied regions is a challenge. Driving six hours east from Kyiv, retracing the path taken by advancing Russian troops, offers a glimpse into the challenges faced by those living under Moscow's authority.


The geopolitical landscape changed drastically in 2014 with Russia's invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Visa regimes were imposed, fences went up, and the ease of movement between neighboring countries was replaced by barriers. In the aftermath of the full-scale invasion in 2022, all official border crossings between Ukraine and Russia were closed. The last lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians behind enemy lines vanished.


The Last Russia-Ukraine Border Crossing: Stories of Escape and Hope. Explore the poignant journey of those escaping Russian-occupied regions through the last open border crossing between Russia and Ukraine. Discover the challenges, resilience, and the makeshift "gateway to freedom" in Krasnopillya. Follow the unique stories of return through the Kolotilovka-Pokrovka corridor, a sanctioned path back to Ukraine. Join House Ukraine Foundation (Casa Ucrania) in supporting those rebuilding their lives. 🤝 #BorderCrossing #EscapeStories #HopeAfterConflict #CasaUcrania
The Last Russia-Ukraine Border Crossing: Stories of Escape and Hope

Front-line crossing in Zaporizhzhia closed


Late in 2022, with a counteroffensive gaining momentum, the last front-line crossing in Zaporizhzhia closed. The only way out of Russian-occupied southeastern Ukraine involved roundabout routes to Europe, spanning almost 3,000 miles, taking more than three weeks, and costing many their life savings.


Amid this complex landscape, a group of individuals discovered an informal crossing between the Russian town of Kolotilovka and the Ukrainian town of Pokrovka, six miles from Krasnopillya. What started as an attempt to pass through as civilians became a ray of hope for those seeking to return to Ukraine. The corridor, initially established for exchanging prisoners of war, evolved into a sanctioned, one-way path back to Ukraine.


Humanitarian corridor between Kolotilovka and Pokrovka


The humanitarian corridor between Kolotilovka and Pokrovka, while officially sanctioned, is not without risks. Russian forces regularly shell it, a tactic designed to "terrorize" fleeing Ukrainians. Despite these challenges, more than 10,000 citizens have managed to return to Ukraine through this corridor, bringing with them the emotional and psychological baggage from years of Russian brutality and repression.


The House Ukraine Foundation recognizes the significance of these stories and the resilience of those seeking to rebuild their lives. As travelers pass through the filtration center in Krasnopillya, Pluriton, a local non-governmental organization, steps in to facilitate their re-entry process and provide essential support in the critical first 24 hours.


Join us in supporting these individuals who, against all odds, are shaping a new chapter of hope and reconstruction. Your contribution to the House Ukraine Foundation makes a tangible impact on lives caught in the crossfire of conflict. 🌐🤝 


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